31 Aug 2018

Royal Canadian Air Force assumes NATO Air Policing role

The Royal Air Force has officially handed responsibility for the NATO Enhanced Air Policing mission over to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

During a ceremony held at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Southern Romania, 135 Expeditionary Air Wing relinquished command of the NATO mission to their Canadian counterparts. Royal Canadian Air Force Hornet fighter jets will now replace the RAF Typhoon to police the skies over eastern Europe.

Among the VIPs present at the ceremony was British Ambassador Andrew Noble, who said: “Today marks the conclusion of the second year in which RAF Typhoons have helped to defend and secure the skies of this important Black Sea flank of the NATO Alliance. This mission is in response to Russia’s use of military force against its neighbours and its military build-up in the region. In contrast, NATO’s aim is to contribute to European defence and security by preventing conflict, protecting our allies and preserving the peace.”

Noble was joined by the Canadian Ambassador Kevin Hamilton, in addition to the Chief of the Romanian Air Force, General Viorel Pana, and Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group RAF, Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth. Also present were personnel from the Royal Canadian and the Romanian Air Forces.

According to Wing Commander Chris Ball, who led 135 EAW for the duration of the mission: “Today my team’s role in NATO Air Policing draws to a close, for now, and it is a great honour to handover to the Royal Canadian Air Force as they also prepare to make their contribution to our collective defence in this region for the second year. I know they will do a fantastic job and we are, of course, both working hand-in-hand with the Romanian Air Force who never stops providing defence in this region.”

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